Friday, April 20, 2012
Four firefighters escaped a fire at a vacant house in East Cleveland early Friday morning.
The East Cleveland firefighters were battling a blaze on the 12000 block of Auburndale Avenue when some became lost in the smoke and flames. The fire, which started at a vacant home, broke out at about 4 a.m.
East Cleveland firefighters said four firefighters were trapped on the second floor. Two jumped out of a second story window and two were rescued by a ladder by other East Cleveland firefighters.
Lt. Mike Celiga jumped out of the second story window.
"They tell me that I was on fire on the way down. I don't know. It happened pretty quick. It happened quick, but it's the longest drop you'll ever make in your life," Celiga said. Celiga said he didn't have a hose and didn't have time to make a decision. So he jumped.
"Then I realized that the other two were still in there. I saw water flying out the window so I at least knew that they were still alive and doing something," Celiga said.
One firefighter was taken to the hospital for knee and back pain, but was released. All injuries were minor and everyone is OK after the fire.
Due to an old radio system, a pump operator did not hear when the crew on the first floor asked for water. This meant that they could not put water on fire on the first floor and fire raced up the stairs, trapping the four firefighters on the second floor, according to East Cleveland fire.
But the mayor of East Cleveland said on Friday the fire department will be receiving 15 brand new radios that have higher frequencies